Surprise positional outlook: Second base
Ian Kinsler has emerged as one of the top all-around players in the game. At the plate, Kinsler has shown plenty of versatility. In his career, Kinsler has 95 or more at-bats at every spot in the lineup but cleanup, where's he's actually never batted. By far, his highest total is in the leadoff spot, where he was in 2011. Kinsler hit .257 and much was made of how the batting average was low by his standards. But he did so much more as a leadoff hitter. He had a .848 OPS, third-most among AL leadoff hitters and his .356 on-base percentage is fourth. Considering the average, that's saying something. Kinsler's 84 walks were tops among leadoff hitters by a huge margin (Austin Jackson was second with 55).
But as the OPS shows, Kinsler has power. His 32 home runs were tops among any AL leadoff hitter. When Kinsler stepped to the plate, the game could be 1-0 in a heartbeat. That concerned every playoff opponent that faced Texas in 2011 (and Kinsler led off Game 4 in Tampa Bay with a homer, if you'll remember, the day the Rangers clinched in Adrian Beltre's three-homer game).
|Rangers radio play-by-play voice Eric Nadel talks about getting over the World Series, the Yu Darvish hype, getting back into the swing of things and more. |
He stole 30 bases and did it despite an ankle that didn't feel 100 percent. Kinsler said this offseason that he had a PRP procedure to help relieve some of the pain on his ankle, which hadn't felt right since he rolled it in spring training in 2010. Now he feels 100 percent, which should make him even more effective.
|RANGERS POSITION OUTLOOK|
| Jan. 23: Catcher |
Jan. 24: First base
Jan. 25: Second base
Jan. 26: Third base
Jan. 27: Shortstop
Jan. 30: Left field
Jan. 31: Center field
Feb. 1: Right field
Feb. 2: DH/Utility
Feb. 3: Bench
Feb. 6: No. 1 starter
Feb. 7: No. 2 starter
Feb. 8: No. 3 starter
Feb. 9: No. 4 starter
Feb. 10: No. 5 starter
Feb. 13: Middle/long relief
Feb. 14: Late-inning relief
Feb. 15: Coaches
Feb. 16: Manager
Feb. 17: Front office
There was talk among fans that Kinsler's best spot in the order might be third or sixth. But I disagree. His versatility makes him dangerous in the top spot. Could he drive in more runs later in the order? Maybe. But he creates so many opportunities for others by getting on base and then getting himself into scoring position with big bats coming up behind him.
Kinsler, BTW, was ranked No. 15 overall by ESPN.com's Eric Karabell. That's the highest ranking for any Rangers player heading into the 2012 fantasy season. It's because of Kinsler's production and the fact that he does it at second base, a position that isn't deep in the fantasy world.
This should be a fun year for Kinsler. He's completely healthy, coming off a season where he played in 155 games, and was solid in the playoffs.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
- There are no games scheduled for today.